appy 130 Birthday Cantley!

Cantley 1889 Articles

<em>Echo</em> Cantley <em>Echo</em>

The following article first appeared in The Echo of Cantley Volume 32 no 2, August 2019. This article is made available for the enjoyment of others with the express permission of the Echo of Cantley.

Happy 130 Birthday Cantley! 1889 – 2019

Margaret Phillips

Cantley’s Municipal History to 1989

1829 (190 years ago!) – Arrival of Andrew Blackburn who settled in Cantley with his two sons.

1842 – First census listed 244 residents, mostly from Ireland and Scotland. This area was named Hamilton Neighbourhood presumably after the census-taker William Hamilton.

1857 – First post office was established. The name changed to Cantley.

It is said that Colonel Cantley, a British 1812 war veteran who helped build the Rideau Canal, was given land here. His house became part of the James McClelland farm when he died in the 1840s.

Until 1880’s – Cantley settlers had little say in their own affairs.

1880’s – Cantley’s Robert Kerr and Thomas E. Barrett worked hard to promote selfgovernment.

September 2, 1889 – Their work resulted in the incorporation of the Municipal Corporation of East Hull with boundaries similar to (but larger than) today’s Cantley: the Gatineau River on the west, Wilson’s Corners on the north, West Templeton on the east and the railway on the south – 70 square miles, ninety-five percent rural.

The name Cantley continued to be used by the post office and local population.

October 16, 1889 – The first election was held. Alex Prud’homme became the first mayor on a motion by Council. (Interestingly, Cantley’s large majority of Anglophones elected a respected Francophone as its first mayor. Until 1966, lists of civic representatives show both English and French names.)

October 28, 1889 – The first Council meeting was held at the Cantley home of James Davis.

1893 – Cantley’s first town hall was built for $105 on the same site as today’s. It was later moved to a site across the road.

January 1965 – Drastic changes began with new Quebec provincial legislation. Cantley council met under the name Municipalité de Touraine in a new building on avenue Picardie.

1971 – Cantley became part of Ville de Touraine.

1975 – Touraine and six other communities were combined to form the City of Gatineau.

Cantley citizens disliked these decisions, which were imposed without local consultation. Cantley was losing its sense of identity. Its unique rural interests were not considered. Taxes were rapidly rising. Citizens were required to pay for their own well water and sewage, and to finance urban amenities they would never use.

1983 – A group Francophone and Anglophone residents formed the Rural Residents’ Committee of Cantley. Its six years of hard work, dedication, determination and creative ideas united our community.

1989 – Cantley won its independence from Gatineau. Its unique historic identity was restored!

The Cantley Road and Cantley United Cemetery in 1927, the present day montée-de-la-Source at the intersection of chemin Sainte-Elisabeth. Photo provided by Bob and Sue McClelland.
Paddy Fleming Ferry on the Gatineau River, Cantley, circa 1912. The ferry gave Cantley residents access to the train station and goods and services on the west side of the river. Photo provided by Mervyn and Cora Hogan.

Robert Kerr worked for self-government in Cantley in the 1880s. He was Cantley’s second mayor (1894 to 1915). He and his wife Martha Barber (left) lived on 100 acres on the southwest corner of chemin des Érables and chemin Taché. The farmhouse and barn are on chemin des Érables. Photo provided by Grace McClelland.
Samuel McClelland, Cantley’s mayor, 1933 to 1947, with his first wife Carrie Stevenson. Their farm was opposite chemin St Andrew. His son, Orville operated a grocery store/butcher shop for many years at site of today’s Mex Restaurant. Photo provided by Grace McClelland

Alexandre Prud’homme, first mayor of Cantley, 1889 to 1894, with his wife Jane Johnston. Photo provided by the late Edith Holmes Foley
The Blackburn family in front of their ancestral home on chemin River, circa 1900. The Blackburns were Cantley’s first permanent settlers arriving here in 1829. Photo provided by Bob and Sue McClelland.